Voting in Turkey’s historic constitutional referendum officially ended at 5:00 p.m. local time (1400GMT) on Sunday.
Voting ended in 32 of Turkey’s eastern provinces an hour earlier at 4:00p.m. (1300GMT) because it began an hour earlier to account for daylight savings.
Approximately 55 million people were eligible to vote across 167,140 polling stations.
The result of the referendum will be announced later this evening.
Citizens were asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on an 18-article constitutional reform bill that could transform the system from parliamentary to presidential.
Under the proposed changes, the position of prime minister and military commissions and courts will be abolished.
Turkey heads to the polls for landmark referendum
The polls have opened to Turkish voters for a historic constitutional referendum that can change the country’s system of governance.There are 167,140 ballot boxes nationwide catering to 55,319,222 eligible voters. Ballots have also been placed in prisons, and more than 1.2 million Turkish expatriates voted abroad at 120 polling stations in 57 countries.Polls will remain open until 17:00 (local time) in most provinces.“Yes” voters have rallied behind President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who they describe as a leader capable of steering Turkey to success in a time of terrorism infused turbulence, security threats and the aftermath of the July 15th coup attempt.Erdoğan, who has governed since 2003, has wrangled inflation rates, which exceeded 100 percent in the early 1990s, and nurtured Turkey’s economic growth. He galvanized civil liberties and foreign investment soared.Working class conservatives were given a voice by Erdoğan. As a NATO member and regional power, Turkey has entered the world stage as a key player.Why is the referendum important?Turkey’s constitution was penned in 1982 by generals who shepherded a military coup two years earlier, and has since been modified 18 times by six different governments.The current system is a hybrid, neither a parliamentary nor a presidential system. The system features both a directly elected parliament and a directly elected president. Elections determine who holds the post of president and prime minister, and any dispute on policy between the two could cause a deadlock and spark a political crisis.Turkey’s political history is scattered with such crises. Unease between President Turgut Ozal and Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel cost Turkey in international relations, and the tension between President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit resulted in economic mayhem.The system has hosted a series of unstable coalition governments, resulting in a myriad of military coups. The Turkish people have witnessed 65 governments in the Republic of Turkey’s 95 years of existence.Throughout Turkey’s political history, there have been plots by oligarchies that infiltrated the military and government institutions to carry out coups. July 15 marked the fifth military coup Turkey has survived.The 2007 referendum was a step taken toward stability, and Sunday’s referendum is an opportunity for the Turkish people to place power firmly within the presidency to reconcile contradictions and inefficiencies within the current system.What will change?The reforms were approved by 339 deputies on Jan. 21, and Erdoğan signed the amendments on Feb. 10. Today, the people will have their say.Under the proposed changes, the president, vice president(s) and cabinet officials could be investigated by the parliament. The current system has no mechanism that monitors presidential conduct.The new constitution proposes a streamlined legislative process. The post of prime minister will be abolished and the president will be able to issue laws by decree concerning specific areas of executive power. The parliament will be able to declare a decree void, and presidential decrees will be monitored by Parliament and the Constitutional Court.The president will appoint four members to the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors, Turkey’s highest legal body responsible for the judicial system, which is the same number as the president appoints now, and the Parliament will appoint the remaining members. The number of members will be reduced from 17 to 15.The new constitution would also abolish military commissions and courts, which were the remnants of an outdated constitution written by coup plotting generals. This is perhaps one of the most significant of the proposed changes, because for the first time in Turkey’s history the judiciary would be completely under civilian control. The Cabinet will also be abolished but ministers will remain.The president will also be able to appoint presidential aides and ministers and also unseat them.Turgut Özal, Süleyman Demirel and Tansu Ciller are among former leaders who called for similar reform under a presidential system.The age of candidacy for Parliament would be lowered from 25 to 18, and the total number of parliamentarians will increase from 550 to 600 in order to better represent the growing population.Galeri: Turks vote in histroic referendumTurkey to see 18 articles put to vote in referendumMore than 55M Turks to vote in historic referendumTurkey issues referendum broadcast ban
Mechanisms to investigate and monitor the president are also part of the proposed changes.
Other major changes include lowering the age of candidacy for Parliament from 25 to 18 and increasing the number of parliamentarians from 550 to 600, in order to better represent Turkey’s growing population.
The reform bill was passed in January with 339 parliamentary votes in favor.
Dutch politician posts ‘yes’ message in support of Turkey’s referendum
Member of The Hague City Council for the Unity Party, Arnoud van Doorn showed his support of the Turkish constitutional referendum with a message posted to social media on Sunday.Doorn declared his view on the referendum by saying “Evet!” which is Turkish for yes, in a tweet where he can be seen waving a Turkish flag.We stand with our brothers and sisters in Turkey 💪 #Evet pic.twitter.com/SM3XWFHU3M— Arnoud van Doorn (@ArnoudvDoorn) 16 Nisan 2017 Over 55 million Turks are eligible to vote domestically in the referendum, and more than 1.2 million Turkish expatriates voted abroad at 120 polling stations in 57 countries.Polling across Turkey will continue until 5:00 p.m. (1400 GMT).The former politician broke ties with the anti-Islamic Dutch Freedom Party, and is now associated with Geert Wilders, and became a Muslim a few years ago.“Europe is aware of its demise, which is why it’s attacking Turkey. It’s not just about Turkey, it’s also about Islam,” Doorn said regarding the recent political tension between Turkey and some EU countries.100-year-old woman takes part in Turkish referendumTurkish internet sensation ‘Salt Bae’ casts vote in styleI believe in 'people’s sense of democracy': ErdoğanTurkey heads to the polls for landmark referendum
Turks from all walks of life take part in referendum
Turks from all walks of life have flocked to polling centers across Turkey to take part in the historic referendum on proposed changes to the country’s constitution.100-year-old woman heads to the polls At the polling stations a few voters, however, stood out from the rest. One such voter is 100-year-old Aliye Tür, who came to vote with the help of her 63-year old son, at a polling station in the province of Batman.Speaking to reporters in Kurdish, Aliye said she’s casting her vote for Turkey’s future, which she envisions to be more beautiful and harmonious.Her son, Mehmet, says he accompanied his mother to the polling station, adding that he will also vote for a more prosperous future for Turkey.World’s tallest girl casts her voteRumeysa Gelgi, the world’s tallest girl under the age of 18, at 213.5 cm, cast her vote with her family. “I am very glad that I am able to do my civic duty. My civic duty is more important than anything else,” said Gelgi.Setting a record three years ago as the world’s tallest girl under the age of 18, Rumeysa Gelgi proudly cast her vote. Due to her genetic disorder, the ‘Weaver Syndrome’, her body grew at a dangerously rapid pace. She was even included in the Guinness Book of World Records at 17 (3 years ago). Gelgi was brought to the voting station in a wheelchair by her parents.Newlyweds cast vote on wedding dayA newly married Turkish couple, whose wedding day happened to coincide with the referendum, also chose to practice their civil duty and cast their votes in the province of Kütahya.The bride, Fadime Demirel, explained how she and her then husband-to-be, picked the day for the wedding before the date for the referendum was set, saying that it only added to her excitement for the monumental day.Demirel explained that they will later head to their home in the province of Manisa, her husband’s hometown, where he’ll cast his vote.FETÖ suspect caught casting voteIn a strange incident, a FETÖ suspect, for whom an arrest warrant had been issued within the investigation regarding Fetullah Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PSS), was caught attempting to cast his vote in the northern Turkish city of Trabzon. The suspect, known as E.O., for whom an arrest warrant was issued, had been detained in the school where he came to cast his vote.The teams from the Anti-Smuggling and the Organized Crime Department of Police Office Of Trabzon initiated the arrest. The man who was being watched within the scope of the coup investigation, is one of the shareholders of Alparslan College, which was closed for being connected to the terrorist organization.Having determined that E.O. would cast his vote at the Atatürk Elementary School, the police awaited him there and arrested him upon arrival. The legal proceedings for E.O. will be ongoing.Voting takes only 12 minutes in this districtIn one of Manisa’s districts with 12 voters, voting took only 12 minutes.In the small district of Kayranokçular, voting was completed way ahead of time with only 12 voters. The 12 voters arrived to cast their votes in a timely manner, and the box was closed after just12 minutes. The residents of the district calmly went back to their farming and other daily routines.Turkish internet sensation ‘Salt Bae’ casts vote in styleI believe in 'people’s sense of democracy': ErdoğanTurkish PM casts vote in referendumTurkey heads to the polls for landmark referendumGaleri: Turks cast vote in traditional clothing
Turkish internet sensation ‘Salt Bae’ casts vote in style
Turkish internet sensation Nusret Gökçe, better known as ‘Salt Bae’, ‘drizzled’ his vote in style early Monday morning in Istanbul, as Turks across the country flock to cast their ballots in the referendum on a presidential system in Turkey.Gökçe boasts a whopping 6 million followers on social media, with whom he shared a photo of himself from inside the ballot box, casting his vote in his own unique style.The social media phenomenon and co-founder of Turkey’s global Nusr-et chain of grill houses, became a household name earlier this year when a video showcasing his charismatic way of sprinkling salt on a piece of meat, a signature move, went viral. İşlem tamam#saltbae #saltlife #salt Nusr_et#Saltbae (@nusr_et)'in paylaştığı bir gönderi (15 Nis 2017, 22:46 PDT)
I believe in 'people’s sense of democracy': Erdoğan
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has cast his vote in the country’s referendum on key constitutional reforms, saying he believes in the people’s sense of democracy.Erdoğan voted alongside his wife Emine Erdoğan and close family members, including his grandchildren.“This April 16 referendum is not an ordinary voting [process],” he said after casting his ballot, adding that he would follow the outcome from Istanbul.“We have had many parliamentary elections in our history as a republic. In the meantime, we have also had referendums.“However, this referendum is a decision of a new administrative system, a change and a transformation in the Republic of Turkey. I hope our people will make a decision to pave the way for a quick development.... We need to grow quicker and walk faster.”He also said he believed in the people’s sense of democracy.“I believe our people will walk towards the future by making their expected decisions and by casting their votes inside and overseas. I believe in our people’s common sense of democracy and that they will walk towards the future though this common sense.”Video: Turkish President Erdogan votes for constitutional referendumPrime Minister Binali Yıldırım voted in western Izmir province.“Whatever the outcome, it will get a red-carpet treatment. The decision of our people is always the best decision,” Yıldırım told the media after casting his vote.Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu voted in southwestern Antalya province.“Our people will decide Turkey’s future today. I think this day is an important turning point in the country’s future,” Çavuşoğlu said.Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, who voted in Istanbul, urged citizens to participate in the election.“We wish everyone casts their votes. A high participation means people defend their democracy, the popular will and the future,” Kurtulmuş told reporters.Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who voted in central Yozgat province, said: “Everyone has spoken so far. Today, it is our people’s turn to speak.”Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, who voted in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, said people have been casting their votes in a peaceful environment.“It is the most peaceful election of recent years in Turkey, according to the recent information that we’ve got this morning,” he said.Defense Minister Fikri Işık told reporters in northwestern Kocaeli province: “I believe the participation in this referendum will be around 90 percent.”More than 55 million Turkish citizens began voting across the country on Sunday in a historic referendum proposing key constitutional changes, including giving wide-ranging executive powers to the president.Citizens are casting their ballots at 167,000 polling stations nationwide. Over one million of them are first-time voters who recently turned 18.Voting is taking place between 7 a.m. (0400GMT) and 4 p.m. (1300GMT) in Turkey's eastern provinces of Adiyaman, Agri, Artvin, Bingol, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Erzincan, Erzurum, Gaziantep, Giresun, Gumushane, Hakkari, Kars, Malatya, Kahramanmaras, Mardin, Mus, Ordu, Rize, Siirt, Sivas, Trabzon, Tunceli, Sanliurfa, Van, Bayburt, Batman, Sirnak, Ardahan, Igdir, and Kilis.For the rest of the country, ballot boxes opened at 8 a.m. (0500GMT) and people would be allowed to vote until 5 p.m. (1400GMT).The electorate in Turkey is being asked to vote Yes or No to an 18-article reform bill, which would also change the current parliamentary system to a presidential one.The Yes campaign is backed by the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and the opposition, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), whereas the main opposition, Republican People's Party (CHP), and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) are in favor of No.The constitutional changes have been discussed since Erdoğan was voted president in August 2014. This marked the first time a Turkish president had been directly chosen by popular vote.The 18-article bill was passed by parliament in January, with 339 votes in favor -- nine more than needed to put the proposal to a referendum.The reforms would extend the president's executive powers and the president would also be allowed to retain ties to a political party.The other major changes include lowering the age to become a lawmaker to 18 from 25, increasing the number of seats in parliament from 550 to 600, closing down military courts, and same-day parliamentary and presidential elections every five years.Erdoğan casts ballot in Turkish referendum in IstanbulTurkish PM casts vote in referendum